If all goes according to plan, at 6:27 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time this evening, Elon Musk and his rocket company SpaceX will be set to write their names into the history books yet again. Because tonight, SpaceX will likely become the first private organization to launch a payload into Earth orbit on a used rocket.
See, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that'll be pushing this SpaceX mission off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 39A somewhere between half-past six and 9 o'clock will be making its sophomore flight when it helps heft the SES-10 communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit. It first launched back in April 2016, when it helped bring supplies to the International Space Station during mission CRS-8. (That mission also happened to be the first time SpaceX successfully landed a first-stage rocket on an ocean-going barge, a feat it plans to repeat tonight.)
Reusable spaceships are nothing new, of course; each of NASA's space shuttles made repeated trips into space and back. again. But SpaceX is shooting to become the first private company to usher reusable rockets into commercial use. Making rockets that can be launched repeatedly is a crucial part of SpaceX's goal to lower the costs of space launch. It'll also likely be key to Musk's plans to send people to Mars.
The SpaceX livestream feed on YouTube goes hot at 6:27 p.m. EDT. You can click here to go to the company's official page...or, if you'd rather hang out here on The Drive (and we wouldn't blame you), you can watch it below.